Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats have two-game lead at halfway point of Pac-12 season


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The first half of the Pac-12 season is over and the team with the longest winning streak is … Oregon State.

The Beavers defeated visiting UCLA 71-67 today to sweep the L.A. schools in Corvallis. Their modest two-game winning streak tops the conference after Cal upset No. 1 Arizona last night, snapping the Wildcats’ 21-game winning streak. The Wildcats (21-1 overall) lead UCLA (17-5) and Cal by two games in the standings with an 8-1 record.

UCLA must hope for Arizona to lose three times and run the table to have a chance to win the regular-season title. The Wildcats won the head-to-head battle at Pauley Pavilion last month. A race may evolve with Arizona having to adapt to playing without starting forward Brandon Ashley (potential broken right foot).

Oregon State (13-8 overall) is in a five-way tie for fourth place with a 5-4 record. ASU, Colorado, Stanford and Washington are also 5-4.

The league has eight teams with winning conference records, and Oregon (Arizona’s next opponent Thursday night at McKale Center) is not one of them. The Ducks, one of the favorites heading into the season and ranked No. 10 at one point, is 3-6 in Pac-12 play.

If the season ended today ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, who is usually correct in his analysis, believes a record seven teams from the Pac-12 will make the NCAA tournament — Arizona as a No. 1 seed, ASU (No. 11), Cal (No. 11), Colorado (No. 10), Stanford (No. 12), UCLA (No. 7) and Oregon (No. 12).

[/ezcol_1half_end] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.


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